The confirmation had arrived. The authorities were allowing him to avoid points on his licence in return for his attendance at a speed awareness course at Wroxton Airfield.
Ed was to report at 8am and be available for a minimum of six hours. The paperwork told him to bring food and drink if needed. It also made it quite clear that he was to concentrate fully on the course. Any lapses such as surreptitious texting would result in immediate expulsion.
The day arrived dismal, dark and freezing cold. Wroxton consisted of decaying Nissens, fractured concrete and tumbleweed. The car park was already full of boy-racer brands to which he added his Subaru.
He found the waiting room reeking of sweat and damp and glanced at his bung- eyed mean looking co-students.
Suddenly a neatly turned out gentleman appeared with a clipboard:
‘You are all here because you have broken the law and society has seen fit to extract its penalty by your spending time here with me. I’m Mr Lightber, the facilitator; and remember, keep your mobiles switched off.’
They took their seats and so began hours of listening to lectures and answering questions.
First, the course became restive because of the relentless barrage of Highway Code Trivial Pursuit and then aggressive when Mr Lightber announced he wanted to start the next module.
‘Now listen, you lot, you’ve not only broken the law but have killed and injured other people. Some of you have even managed to kill yourselves. That’s right….you’re dead.
And for those who thought hell was all cauldrons and boiling oil, you are now discovering that we are more sophisticated with our guests
You may as well calm down now, because you’re going to be doing this course for, ahem, eternity!’
Ed looked at the Subaru through the window and closed his eyes.